Versailles: Portrait of a Royal Domain
Sunday June 23 4:00pm

Versailles: Portrait of a Royal Domain

$51, $72, $92, $110 Garden Listening $10


King Louis XIV transformed his father’s pastoral hunting lodge at Versailles into a lavish palace that served as the seat of government and culture in France. Enjoy a musical feast with two chamber operas exalting the splendor and majesty of the palace and its gardens, alongside divertissements from Atys. The refined elegance and expressive drama is brought to life by the all-star BEMF Vocal and Chamber Ensembles in a production featuring gorgeous costumes, Baroque dance, and sumptuous staging.

Produced in collaboration with the Boston Early Music Festival, in partnership with the Centre de Musique Baroque Versailles.

“No other organization on the East Coast performs Baroque music with the mastery and elegance of this distinguished series.” — The New Yorker

Boston Early Music Festival
Paul O’Dette & Stephen Stubbs, Musical Directors
Gilbert Blin, Stage Director
Carlos Fittante, Choreographer


Charpentier Les Plaisirs de Versailles
Lully Atys (two divertissements)
Lalande Les Fontaines de Versailles

3:00pm Pre-concert conversation with Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs.

Complimentary Garden Listening tickets for Members at the Family level and above

New! Summer Series

This performance is part of the Early Music Series and the Vocal Series.
Save 15% on tickets to this performance when you add tickets to two or more performances within one of those series.

Boston Early Music Festival

Boston Early Music Festival

Artist Website Watch

The Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) is universally recognized as a leader in the field of early music. Since its founding in 1980 by leading practitioners of historical performance in the United States and abroad, BEMF has promoted early music through a variety of diverse programs and activities, including an annual concert series that brings early music’s brightest stars to the Boston and New York concert stages, and the biennial weeklong Festival and Exhibition, recognized as “the world’s leading festival of early music” (The Times, London). Through its programs BEMF has earned its place as North America’s premier presenting organization for music of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods and has secured Boston’s reputation as “America’s early music capital” (The Boston Globe).

One of BEMF’s main goals is to unearth and present lesser-known Baroque operas performed by the world’s leading musicians armed with the latest information on period singing, orchestral performance, scenic design, costuming, dance, and staging. BEMF operas reproduce the Baroque’s stunning palette of sound by bringing together today’s leading operatic superstars and a wealth of instrumental talent from across the globe to one stage for historic presentations, all zestfully led from the pit by the BEMF Artistic Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, and creatively reimagined for the stage by BEMF Opera Director Gilbert Blin.

The eighteenth biennial Boston Early Music Festival in June 2015 featured productions of all three of Monteverdi’s surviving operas. The nineteenth Festival — June 11 – 18, 2017 — featured Campra’s extraordinary Le Carnaval de Venise.

BEMF introduced its Chamber Opera Series during its annual concert season in November 2008. The series focuses on the wealth of chamber operas composed during the Baroque period, while providing an increasing number of local opera aficionados the opportunity to attend one of BEMF’s superb productions. The Chamber Opera Series production of Handel’s Acis and Galatea was presented on a 6-city North American Tour in early 2011. In 2014, the Charpentier double bill from 2011 was revived for BEMF’s second North American Tour.

BEMF has a well-established and highly successful project to record some of its groundbreaking work in the field of Baroque opera. The first three recordings in this series were all nominated for the GRAMMY Award for Best Opera Recording, in 2005, 2007, and 2008: the 2003 Festival centerpiece Ariadne, by Conradi; Lully’s Thésée; and the 2007 Festival opera, Lully’s Psyché, which was hailed by BBC Music Magazine as “superbly realized … magnificent.” In addition, the BEMF recordings of Lully’s Thésée and Psyché received Gramophone Award Nominations in the Baroque Vocal category in 2008 and 2009, respectively. BEMF’s fourth CD recording on the German CPO label, Charpentier’s Actéon, was released in November 2010, and the fifth, Blow’s Venus and Adonis, was released in June 2011. BEMF recorded three additional CDs in 2013. The first release, Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs on CPO, won the 2015 GRAMMY Award for Best Opera Recording and the 2015 ECHO Klassik Opera Recording of the Year (17th/18th Century Opera). Steffani’s Niobe, Regina di Tebe, featuring Philippe Jaroussky and Karina Gauvin, was released in January 2015 on the Erato/Warner Classics label in conjunction with a seven-city, four-country European concert tour of the opera, has been named Gramophone’s Recording of the Month for March 2015, is the 2015 ECHO Klassik World Premiere Recording of the Year, and has received a Diapason d’Or de l’Année. Handel’s Acis and Galatea was released in November 2015.


Paul O'Dette and Stephen Stubbs

Paul O’Dette & Stephen Stubbs, Musical Directors

Paul O’Dette has been described as “the clearest case of genius ever to touch his instrument” (Toronto Globe and Mail). He appears regularly at major festivals throughout the world performing lute recitals and in chamber music programs with leading early music colleagues. Mr. O’Dette has made more than 140 recordings, winning two GRAMMY Awards and receiving six GRAMMY nominations and numerous international record awards. The Complete Lute Music of John Dowland (a 5-CD set for harmonia mundi usa) was awarded the prestigious Diapason d’Or de l’Année, and was named “Best Solo Lute Recording of Dowland” by BBC Radio 3. The Bachelar’s Delight: Lute Music of Daniel Bacheler was nominated for a Grammy as Best Solo Instrumental Recording in 2006. While best known for his recitals and recordings of virtuoso solo lute music, Paul O’Dette is also active as a conductor of Baroque opera. Together with Stephen Stubbs he won a GRAMMY in 2015 for Best Opera Recording, as well as an ECHO Klassik Award, for their recording of Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers with the Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble. Their CDs of Conradi’s Ariadne, Lully’s Thésée, and Lully’s Psyché, with the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra on the cpo label, were nominated for Grammys in 2005, 2007, and 2008. In addition to his activities as a performer, Paul O’Dette is an avid researcher, having worked extensively on the performance and sources of seventeenth-century Italian and English solo song, continuo practices, and lute music. He has published numerous articles on issues of historical performance practice, and co-authored the John Dowland entry in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Paul O’Dette is Professor of Lute and Director of Early Music at the Eastman School of Music and Artistic Co-Director of the Boston Early Music Festival.


After a thirty-year career in Europe, GRAMMY-recipient Stephen Stubbs returned to his native Seattle in 2006 as one of the world’s most respected lutenists, conductors, and Baroque opera specialists, and in 2014 was awarded the Mayor’s Arts Award for “Raising the Bar” in Seattle. Before his return, he was based in Bremen, Germany, where he was Professor at the Hochschule für Künste. In 1987 he founded the ensemble Tragicomedia, which toured throughout Europe, Japan, and the U.S., and has been the continuo team for the Boston Early Music Festival since 1997. Stephen is the Festival’s permanent Artistic Co-Director along with his long-time colleague Paul O’Dette; they are also the Musical Directors of all BEMF operas. BEMF’s recordings of Conradi’s Ariadne, Lully’s Thésée, and Lully’s Psyché were nominated for GRAMMY awards, and they won the Best Opera Recording GRAMMY in 2015 for Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers. In 2007 Stephen established his new production company based in Seattle, Pacific MusicWorks (PMW), reflecting his lifelong interest in both early music and contemporary performance. PMW’s productions include performances of the Monteverdi Vespers, described in the press as “of a quality you are unlikely to encounter anywhere else in the world.” The “Passions Project” was a special 2014 collaboration with the Seattle Symphony, which performed Bach’s St. Matthew Passion while PMW presented Bach’s St. John Passion. Other recent appearances have included Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Gluck’s Orfeo in Bilbao, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Così fan tutte for the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, and Handel’s Agrippina for Opera Omaha where he returned with Handel’s Semele in 2016. He has conducted Messiah with the Seattle, Edmonton, and Birmingham Symphony orchestras. His discography includes well over 100 CDs. In 2013, Stephen was appointed Senior Artist in Residence at the University of Washington School of Music. His major productions there have been Handel’s Semele and Mozart’s Magic Flute.


Gilbert Blin, Stage Director

Gilbert Blin graduated from the Paris Sorbonne with a Master’s degree focusing on Rameau’s operas and their relation with the stage, an interest that he has since broadened to encompass French opera and its relation to Baroque theater, his fields of expertise as historian, stage director, and designer. His début productions include Massenet’s Werther and Delibes’s Lakmé for Paris Opéra-Comique, Meyerbeer’s Robert le Diable for Prague State Opera, and Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice for the Drottningholm Theatre in Sweden. Since 2001, Gilbert Blin has established himself as a sought-after stage director for the Baroque repertoire: he directed Vivaldi’s Orlando Furioso for the Prague State Opera, and staged and designed reconstructions of Vivaldi’s Rosmira fedele and Handel’s Teseo for Opéra de Nice, and of Lully’s Thésée and Psyché for the Boston Early Music Festival. As the Boston Early Music Festival’s Stage Director in Residence starting in 2008, Gilbert Blin staged a trilogy of English chamber operas, presented from 2008 to 2011: Blow’s Venus and Adonis, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and Handel’s Acis and Galatea. In 2011, after designing the staging and the sets of Steffani’s Niobe, Regina di Tebe, Gilbert Blin presented Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs. His recent historically staged and designed productions also include Alessandro Scarlatti’s Il Tigrane for Nice, Handel’s Almira for Boston, and Mozart’s Don Giovanni for Prague. Following his acclaimed staging of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea for the 2009 Boston Festival, he staged Monteverdi’s Orfeo for the BEMF Chamber Opera Series in 2012, and presented the composer’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria for the 2015 Festival. Gilbert Blin has been the Opera Director of the Boston Early Music Festival since 2013.


Carlos Fittante, Choreographer

Carlos Fittante, a graduate of the School of American Ballet, specializes in Baroque, Balinese, and Spanish escuela bolera dance. He is the artistic director of BALAM Dance Theatre (BALAM), a contemporary world dance company inspired by Balinese theatre. Highlights from diverse his performing career include the Metropolitan Opera, New York Theatre Ballet, Semara Ratih Gamelan, Joan Miller and Dance Players, Danzas Españolas, and numerous period music ensembles. Both his choreography and performances have received critical praise and have been presented throughout the United States and internationally at venues including Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Princeton University, and the Bali International Dance Festival. He has taught Mask and Gesture at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, NY, and currently teaches dance at Queens College and St. Joseph’s College in New York.